Jessie Bates is the most important player for the Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals, Jessie Bates III (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals, Jessie Bates III (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Jessie Bates, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals need to make re-signing Jessie Bates a top priority

Traditionally, Cincinnati’s free agency was a bit of a misnomer. The Bengals would focus almost exclusively on retaining their own players and then signing some back-end rotation-type players toward the end of the free agency period.

Recently Cincinnati has begun taking a serious look at free agents and offering some big contracts to new players. While this is a good strategy, the Bengals need to find the balance and start retaining some of their top players again.

Andrew Whitworth, Kevin Zeitler, Carl Lawson, and William Jackson III are recent examples of Cincinnati not meeting a player’s asking price and suffering from that player leaving. In most of these cases, the team has still not replaced that position with a player who can reliably be counted on.

Cincinnati cannot let this happen again and send the message that they will not meet players in the middle. There are examples of the Bengals extending and signing key players, and Jessie Bates needs to be the next one.

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If a deal does not get done in the next week, there is a good chance Bates will have to play next year on the franchise tag. Cincinnati needs to do all in their power to keep that from happening and lock Bates into a long-term deal.